Wednesday, December 22, 2021
Yesterday the New York Times ran what I consider to be an important article about Medicare costs to beneficiaries. How to Cope With Medicare’s Rising Costs focuses on how beneficiaries can plan for the rising costs of Medicare. There was a lot of excitement over the 2022 SSA COLA increase, rightfully so, but that excitement would quickly evaporate when CMS announced the 2022 Medicare increases, especially the Part B premium, which is going up 14.55%. Initially it was announced in part that the increase was due to the anticipated cost of the newly approved Alzheimer's drug. However, this week, the article notes, the manufacturer dropped the price of the drug. But will there be a commensurate drop in the Part B premium?
The Part B premium is not the only increase in out of pocket costs. The article discusses the deductible as well as the Part D costs and how those increases, especially for drugs, affect beneficiaries' ability to access health care and take their meds. Remember that one provision of the Build Back Better is to allow CMS to negotiate some drug prices and cap Part D out-of-pocket costs, as well as that for insulin.
The article contains a section on how to budget for these increases. In addition to including plan choices, the article offers several more suggestions, such as a health savings account, delaying Social Security, and annually reviewing plan choices during each fall's open enrollment.